Thursday, November 26, 2015

Rationalization of Allotment of Berths under Physically Handicapped Quota with a View To Ensure Optimum Utilization

As per extant instructions, handicapped quota of 2 berths in sleeper class (one lower and one middle) is earmarked for physically handicapped persons travelling on concession.

There are two types of handicapped persons who can book berth under this quota; one for whom it is compulsory to travel along with escort and the second for whom it is optional. Recently instances were brought to the notice of this office where the handicapped persons for whom it is optional to take an escort were not allowed to book single berth against this quota by some Railways since the second berth will go vacant as middle berth cannot be allotted to physically handicapped persons. This issue has now been examined by the Ministry of Railways and further rationalization has been done to ensure optimum allotment and utilization of handicapped quota. The revised decisions taken are given as under : -

(i) There will be two types of handicapped quota of two berths each (one lower and one middle) in the same cabin; one for physically handicapped persons who can utilize concession only when accompanied by an escort and the second for those handicapped persons for whom it is optional to take an escort with them.

(ii) As for the former category it is compulsory to be accompanied by an escort, these berths can be booked by such category of handicapped persons booking tickets on concession on first come first serve basis.

(iii) For the later, where it is optional to be accompanied by an escort, if the first handicapped person intends to book berth along with escort, both the berths will be booked. However if the first handicapped person books without escort, the second berth will not be booked under handicapped quota and will be released to RAC/waitlisted passengers at the time of preparation of reservation charts.

(iv) Further, at the time of preparation of reservation charts, the unutilized lower berths under this quota can be released to physically handicapped passenger (of either category who were kept in general waiting list due to exhaustion of their quota), single senior citizen travelling alone on priority and thereafter to waitlisted passengers as per priority. In case a single berth i.e. middle berth is left vacant in this quota of second category it will be released to RAC/waitlisted passengers.

(v) It has also been decided that whenever a physically handicapped person books ticket on concession and if no berth is available in handicapped quota, the system will automatically try to allot the lower berth to him/her and middle berth to escort subject to availability of same at the time of booking.

These new provisions will be effective by 22nd December, 2015.


Online Pension Sanction and Payment Tracking System ‘Bhavishya’

Dr. Jitendra Singh inaugurates Workshop on online Pension Sanction and Payment Tracking System ‘Bhavishya’

Digital life certificates for continuation of pensions to be scrapped soon: Dr. Jitendra Singh

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh has said the practice of submitting digital life certificates for continuation of pensions will soon be done away with. Inaugurating an Awareness Workshop on the online Pension Sanction and Payment Tracking System ‘BHAVISHYA’ here today, Dr. Jitendra Singh said the Department of Pension & Pensioners' Welfare (P&PW) has introduced and fast-tracked several innovative steps in the last few months.

Dr. Jitendra Singh said the pensioners have assumed priority since there are more pensioners now than serving employees. This has come about due to rising life expectancy, he added. The Minister said apart from ensuring timely disbursal of pension, the Department is also holding pre-retirement counselling for employees and considering various options on how best to utilize the experience of retired personnel who can contribute a lot to the government and society as they are energetic and resourceful for long beyond 60 years of age. Dr. Jitendra Singh said Anubhav is another innovative step where retiring employees will share their experience for the benefit of posterity. On the occasion, Dr. Jitendra Singh presented Bhavishya ID Cards to three personnel retiring this month end.

Secretary, P&PW and Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Shri Devendra Chaudhary said this portal will benefit more than 50,000 employees retiring every year. Head of Offices (HOO)/Drawing & Disbursing Officers (DDO) of all Ministries/Departments including Attached and Subordinate Offices located in Delhi participated in the one day workshop.

The Bhavishya system will introduce transparency and establish accountability in the pension sanction and payment process. It will help to eliminate delays and bring satisfaction to the retiring employees and pensioners. As on date, Bhavishya is being implemented in main Secretariat of 83 Ministries/Departments and 17 attached offices involving 783 DDOs which are in various stages of processing pension cases of 4,066 retiring employees. The web application has so far finally processed and issued PPOs in respect of 652 pensioners. In due course, all the DDOs in various Ministries/Departments and their attached and subordinate offices, numbering over 9,000, would be brought under the ambit of Bhavishya.


Report of Seventh Central Pay Commission -GENERAL PROVIDENT FUND (GPF)

 General Provident Fund (GPF) for Central Government employees was started w.e.f. 1 April, 1960. It covers those government employees who joined service before 01.01.2004 and are not governed by the Contributory Provident Fund Scheme. The scheme was introduced to foster the habit of saving amongst government employees and to provide them financial help in times of need. The Commission has not received any demands regarding modifications in this scheme.

Analysis and Recommendations

9.4.2 The Commission has analyzed the views of the previous Pay Commissions regarding GPF. The IV CPC and the V CPC did not favour making the scheme optional on the grounds that the fund provided relief to employees in times of need and that accretions to the fund also improved the government’s ways and means position. The VI CPC had, however, recommended that the “future investments in GPF should be allowed purely on voluntary basis with no minimum being prescribed.” Their rationale was that the resource position of Central Government is comfortable and the revenues are showing a steady growth, employees have the option of a variety of market instruments to choose from for investment purposes, and with the proposed increase in monthly subscription under the CGEGIS (70% of which is for saving purposes), the government employees will, in any case, be making a much higher saving.

9.4.3 The Commission notes that the recommendations of the VI CPC regarding CGEGIS and GPF were not accepted by the government; neither the CGEGIS rates were revised, nor GPF was made voluntary.

9.4.4 This Commission is of the view that, with the introduction of NPS w.e.f. 01.01.2004, the number of subscribers under the GPF scheme will decrease as time goes by. Moreover, the scheme has worked well over the past 65 years and has provided pecuniary relief to the subscribers in times of need. Accordingly the Commission does not find merit in any disturbance at this point of time. Hence, status quo is recommended.


The recommended Seventh Pay Commission hike will not create a boom

The Seventh Pay Commission award will boost central government wages by 23.5 per cent. So, many analysts have predicted a consumption boom, lifting corporate revenues and profits. Whoa!

Some corporates may gain, but others will lose, so the aggregate effect may be minimal. If consumer goods sector gains while capital goods sector loses, arguably, the net effect on the economy will be negative.

Remember, the government has no money except what it takes from others. It can't raise spending on any one item — like government salaries — except by taking this from somebody else, directly or indirectly. So, the pay commission award will mostly mean robbing Peter to pay Paul. Aggregate demand will not rise.

The left hand knows very well what the right hand is up to

Inconspicuous Consumption

The government has four standard robbery routes. First, it can raise taxes. If so, higher salaries will come at the expense of all taxpayers. If taxpayers typically consume less than government servants, the transfer might produce a small boost to consumption. But if the opposite is true, the transfer will actually reduce overall consumption.

The second route would be to finance higher salaries by printing money — technically called monetising the fiscal deficit. This would be an 'inflation tax', picking people's pockets through higher prices. But it would be nixed by RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, an inflation hawk. He is determined to keep money tight enough to reduce inflationary expectations. That rules out printing money.

Third, the government can finance higher salaries by borrowing more from markets — taking away, partially or wholly, what would otherwise have been lent to the private sector. To that extent, it would again be a transfer from Peter to Paul. More important, additional borrowing would increase the fiscal deficit.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is absolutely committed to reducing the fiscal deficit, from 3.9 per cent of GDP this year to 3.5 per cent next year and 3.0 per cent the year after. So, he cannot use this route to finance higher salaries. The same is true of state governments, which must also prune their fiscal deficits in line with their financial responsibility and budget management targets.

Fourth, the government can finance higher salaries by cutting its own spending. It can't reduce interest on past debt, and obviously cannot reduce salaries — it has to increase them. So, spending cuts will have to come mainly or wholly by slashing investment. This will be one more way of robbing Peter to pay Paul, and a particularly bad way. The need of the hour is to boost investment.

This discussion should make one thing clear. Whatever route — or combination of routes — the government takes, aggregate corporate sales and profits will not receive a boost. The transfer from Peter to Paul can change the fortunes of different sectors. If higher salaries are financed mainly by investment cuts, then sales of cars and TVs may go up, but at the expense of machinery sales.

Many analysts are harking back to the experience of earlier pay commission awards to judge the impact this time. Such comparisons need great care. The last salary hike in 2008 was much higher at 35 per cent, against 23.5 per cent this time. Moreover, the last award included pay arrears for almost two years, putting far more cash in the hands of government servants.

Wrong Precedent

Yet, consumption growth actually decelerated compared with the earlier two years, because of the global recession. The government resorted to amassive fiscal and monetary stimulus. This included slashing the excise duty on autos, lifting sagging sales of cars and motorcycles.

However, the key factor here was the fiscal and monetary stimulus, not the pay hike.

The shoe is on the other foot this time. Both fiscal and monetary policies are going to be relatively tight. The finance minister is committed to reducing the fiscal deficit for the next two years. So are most state finance ministers.

We are in a period of fiscal consolidation, not loosening. In such circumstances, any spending increase on one item will be more than offset by cuts in others. This cannot constitute an overall boost.

The same holds for monetary policy. Consumer price inflation, targeted by the RBI, is an uncomfortable 5% year-on-year, and is trending up a bit. A second bad monsoon in a row has sent up the price of vegetables and pulses to politically embarrassing heights. This has been offset partially by the fall in prices of metals, oil and other commodities.

The RBI has no intention of loosening money just to finance the pay commission award. Interest rates may fall a bit, but will remain among the highest in the world, given that Indian inflation is also among the highest in the world.

There is just one way we can have a free lunch. If oil prices continue to fall, the finance minister can mop up the windfall through higher taxes that, happily, don't raise consumer prices of petrol and diesel.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015



On the issue of LDC/UDC 7th Pay Commission reiterated the deceiving stand of the Government. Despite of realizing the issue as genuine, Government had not taken a positive decision at their level. The tens of thousands of LDC & UDC, solely responsible for the smooth running of many of the subordinate offices, were hoping that 7th Pay Commission will study the problem faced by them and take a positive decision. Staff Side JCM having convinced the importance of the issue, had also recommended merger & upgradation of the Grade Pay of LDC & UDC to Rs. 2800. But here we see that 7th Pay Commission has not taken any decision on the issue except giving some confusing and misleading statements to vindicate the stand taken by the Government as true. Extracts of some of their views on LDC UDC issue spread over various chapters of the reports is given below:

Higher GP 2400 to LDC and consequent upgradation of pay for other civilian posts in the Ministerial hierarchy.

11.22.100 The Academy has urged that LDC should be placed in higher GP 2400 as against the existing GP 1900 at par with grade pay of Data Entry Operator (DEO), on the grounds that both LDC and DEO enter service on the basis of same educational qualification i.e., Class XII and that the functions of LDC are more complex than that of a DEO. This issue has been dealt in Chapter 7.7. Recommendations made there would apply in this case also.

11.52.32 They have demanded upgradation in pay of certain category of non-industrial posts viz., LDC, UDC, Accountant, Junior Head Clerk, Head Clerk, Office Superintendent and Assistant Manager (Admin).

Analysis and Recommendations
11.52.33 The Commission has not received the views of the ministry/department on the issue. However, posts like LDC, UDC, Accountant are common to a number of ministries/ departments. Recommendations regarding their pay are contained in Chapter 7.7 and Chapter 11.35. The Commission does not find any justification for increase in pay scale of the other cadres.

But in Chapter 7.7 no direct recommendation except to decline the demand of LBSNAA to increase the promotional quota of MTS to LDC, is visible. The extract of Para 7.7.37 is give below:

Analysis and Recommendations
7.7.37 Looking at the qualification requirements and their job profile, the Commission does not recommend any changes in the pay structure or the promotional prospects of the MTS. Regarding MTS in Delhi Police, the Commission is of the view that since MTS is a common category, any special dispensation to MTS in Delhi Police is not justified. In so far as the MTS of LBSNAA are concerned, the Commission notes as per the recruitment rules for LDC, presently only 5 percent of MTS can get promoted to LDC through limited departmental examination. However, since the government has stopped direct recruitment for the clerical cadre and gradually phasing out the existing incumbents, their demand cannot be accepted.

11.35.27 There are demands that 50 percent posts of LDCs be earmarked for filing up by promotion/departmental examination by MTS. It has been argued that the educational qualification for the post of MTS is Class X and they are recruited through SSC for performing the work of Peon, Mali, Cobbler, and Sweeper etc. Since most of the MTS join the post with higher qualification of Higher Secondary and Graduation, there is high rate of attrition in the MTS cadre.

Analysis and Recommendations
11.35.28 As per the recruitment rules for LDC, presently 5 percent of MTS can get promoted to LDC through limited departmental examination. Since government has
already stopped direct recruitment for the clerical cadre and gradually phasing out the existing incumbents, this demand cannot be accepted. Moreover enhancement of
promotional quota is an administrative matter to be considered by the relevant
administrative ministry.
Between the lines it can be read that the Government prevented the 7th Pay Commission to not  consider the LDC/UDC issue positively and reiterated the wrong statement of the Government that that Government of India has stopped direct recruitment of LDC through Staff Selection as its recommendation. But the fact is that Staff Selection Commission is frequently conducting recruitment for the post of LDC and without the permission of the Government how they can done at their own. Combined higher secondary examination for the selection of LDC also has been conducted recently. If we take the intention of Government of phasing out the LDC post as true, then where is the alternative recommendation? Who will do the arduous work done by the young and energetic LDCs in the subordinate offices?  It is to be noted that the normal ratio of LDC and UDC in subordinate offices is 5:2 and thus LDCs have been allocated responsible sections and in many smaller offices LDC alone is handling the work of entire Administration.

On the other hand rejecting Central Secretariat Clerical service demand of parity with DEO the commission observes “Even though the entry requirements are similar, historically the pay scales of the two posts have been different. Besides, they comprise two distinct cadres with different set of roles and responsibilities. Hence, the demand for parity of pay of LDC with DEOs cannot be acceded to by the Commission.”(Para 11.35.38).

Our view is that historically these cadres may be different set of roles but the fact is that functions of LDC are more complex than that of DEO and same was brought before the commission by various Associations/Administrative Authorities. Earlier pay Commissions have fixed Pay Scale to DEO considering their work on computer. But today LDCs are more expertise in computer than DEO for doing work in computer, but the demand of parity with DEO is rejected. Extract of Para 11.35.38 is given below:

Central Secretariat Clerical Service
11.35.38 The Central Secretariat Clerical Service (CSCS) consists of the following grades:
i. Upper Division Clerk (GP 2400)
ii. Lower Division Clerk (GP 1900)
LDC and Data Entry Operator (DEO)
11.35.39 It has been demanded that LDC of CSCS drawing pay in GP 1900 be placed in GP 2400 at par with the DEOs on the grounds that post VI CPC, the entry requirements for the two posts is almost similar.

Analysis and Recommendations
11.35.40 Even though the entry requirements are similar, historically the pay scales of the two posts have been different. Besides, they comprise two distinct cadres with different set of roles and responsibilities. Hence, the demand for parity of pay of LDC with DEOs cannot be acceded to by the Commission.

From the above it is clear that Government is adamant on not granting pay scale to LDC & UDCs in subordinate offices at par with the duties assigned to them. Even though the 7th CPC claimed that they have recommended pay scales on the principle of equal pay for equal work, the genuine issue of LDC/UDC is ignored. Thus we are forced to represent against the recommendation to the Government/JCM (Staff Side). All our LDC/UDC friends are requested to raise the issue in their respective Association/Office to force them to represent the issue to the implementation committee for consideration. Also please join all action programmes including strike action, called by the JCM (Staff Side), as published in this web site from time to time, to combat the situation.

TKR Pillai
General Secretary
Mob: 09425372172
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